Iran criticized Egypt on Wednesday for delays in issuing permits to bring in aid to Gaza and to transport wounded women and children out of the area for medical treatment.

Egypt's military-backed government, at odds with Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, has reinforced an Israeli blockade of the narrow strip of territory, in effect cutting off all routes to residents who have spent three weeks under Israeli bombardment.

To get aid across, Iran would have to fly its shipments to Egypt and then cross by land through the Rafah border into Gaza. The only other option would be to go through Israel, an unlikely scenario for Iran.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday 100 tonnes of humanitarian aid had been waiting for days for Egypt's approval to be taken into Gaza.

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